The worst way to run an email campaign

written by Jack MacRae
The worst way to run an email campaign

Having worked in this space for a few years now, I’ve seen some seriously mismanaged campaigns that have successfully driven clients away en masse. That’s why I’ve decided to put together my top tips for best practice email campaigns. From planning scheduled mail outs, to creating supporting landing pages, I’ll be working through email marketing’s biggest faux pas and how to avoid them.

1. Not planning your mail outs

If you don’t plan your strategy for sending out your emails, you’re most definitely setting yourself up for campaign failure. Keep a calendar close by and write down the actions and objectives of your campaign. This will help you prepare your strategy and will prevent your deadlines from creeping up on you, giving you time to polish other aspects of your emails.

Keep those annual big days in mind (Christmas, Valentine’s day, Easter, Summer break and so on) because you can take advantage from them to send seasonal messages to your subscribers, with a more personalised tone of voice and a clearer purpose.

Top tip: Schedule an automated email on an important date for your subscriber (their birthday or yearly subscription anniversary for example), that way your message will be more engaging and your subscribers will feel like the email meant just for them.


2. Not establishing objectives

When you’re developing a marketing email campaign, you need to establish a primary objective, otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointing results and minimal (if any) economic retribution from your campaign.

To define an objective for your email marketing campaign, you’ll need to decide what benefit you wish to pursue. That could be pushing your sales, promoting a new product or service, or increasing your website visits. Once you have a clear objective in mind, you’ll be able to tailor your audience, content and timings around this.


3. Not using the right tools

One of the most common mistakes is executing mail outs from generic email platforms like Gmail or Outlook. This will often be perceived as lacking in professionalism, which in turn will weaken your credibility in the eyes of your customer or client.

To prevent this, there are several tools that focus on email marketing (and shame on you if you’re still not using them). These tools generally allow you to perform massive mail outs with consideration for the way the email will ultimately display on your subscriber’s screen.

Some of the best and most well known tools are Mailchimp, GetResponse, and Aweber.

Top tip: If you’re just starting out in this space, I’d recommend going with Mailchimp because it’s exceptionally user friendly and very intuitive.


 4. Not implementing anti-spam measures

Emails ending up in a subscriber’s spam folder are a common, yet devastating, result. This usually happens because the campaign isn’t compliant with the rules set out by anti-spam filters.

If you don’t want your campaigns to share a spam folder fate, joining the ranks of Nigerian princes and $1,000,000 lottery wins, you need to verify your own domain before you send your marketing emails. You must also choose a safe platform from which you’re able to send your campaign. Remember to avoid overusing capitals or exclamation points in your subject line. Don’t include links that don’t work or take you to broken or illegal URLs, and don’t use images that haven’t been optimised.

Remember to always test your email against an anti-spam filter. This can help you determine if your email would probably land inside a spam folder or not.

Top tip: Don’t use the following words in your subject line: Free, discount, savings, save X money, sex, offer.


5. Not building your own lists

There are still many companies that waste a lot of money on buying random email address lists. What they don’t realise is that this behaviour is forcing an unsuccessful campaign (mostly because you don’t know who your target is, who is a potential client, and who is entirely unsuitable. Most importantly, in light of recent GDPR regulations, it’s most definitely illegal.

Keep in mind that your subscribers are human beings and not just email addresses. That means that if they’re receiving an email from an unauthorised sender they’ll probably mark it as spam, resulting in the black listing of your address (and yes, the process of getting your email address out of this list is long and tedious).


6. Not personalising your message

Whenever possible, try to personalise the message sent to your subscribers. This way you’ll create a more credible, human and close connection with them.

There are many ways to personalise your messages, like using your subscriber’s name (or last name if it’s a formal message) at the beginning, integrating data or feedback from previous interactions they’ve had with your site, suggesting products they could be interested in based on their previous purchases, or changing the look and feel of the entire email based on their age or sex. These techniques will put you in good stead when compared to many other companies who still don’t realise that personalisation is a key feature of email marketing campaigns.

To create personalised mail outs, you must first obtain the necessary information. To do so, the primary tool you’re going to need are those famous registration and subscription forms (don’t know much about them? We can help you with that!).


7. Not creating a landing page

It’s useless to sell a product or service using an email marketing strategy without a landing page. Sending an email with a call to action that links to your website’s home page and not to a specific landing page will break the flow of a natural communication strategy.

To avoid that, you must create a link inside your message that takes the subscriber to the promoted product or service’s own landing page. This will let your readers access a deeper level of information about the product, allowing them to decide whether they need to buy it. It will also allow you to talk more about the product without having to include all the extra information in the email body.

Nonetheless, the recommended option is to design and create a landing page that fits your product’s characteristics. You’ll get a higher number of conversions, translating to a better outcome from your email campaign. The team at outré creative are experts at this, you can check some of our digital projects.


I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the things to keep in mind to run a successful email campaign. There’s a lot more to consider, such as not analysing your campaign’s results, or not creating responsive emails. It’s almost too much to consider, which is why there are people out there who specialise in campaigns like these. Take a look at some of our designs for some examples of out recent work. And if you’re interested in optimizing results in your marketing email campaigns, and reaching your subscribers on a whole new level, get in touch with outré creative today.


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